by Lisa Tome
Jeff Thorpe, Plans Reviewer for the Cecil County Department of Permits and Inspections, has a brand new challenge.
Thorpe is now looking over plans for a wine production building, the first of its kind in the county. "They've been approved by the fire marshal. I don't see a problem so far. I just got them," said Thorpe.
The owners of the Chateau Bu-De Winery, of Bohemia Manor Farm Lane, Chesapeake City, now have a plan for all those 14,000 grape vines they planted last year. They are going to make them into wine, on site. Plans for an 11,163 square foot building have been submitted for review.
The building has a mezzanine and a first floor. There is a wine barrel area, wash tank, storage, pallet rooms, testing lab, office, and break room. The area is agricultural and this building is an approved use falling under low hazard factory industrial. "They (the owners) know what they're doing. It fits in with the agricultural zoning that already exists. It's an ag building, on ag property, with an ag use," said Thorpe.
"This is the first one (wine production building) but it may not be the last," said Thorpe.
In the past few years, a bumper crop of vineyards have cropped up in Cecil. The county is home to five vineyards.
Chateau Bu-De is the newest of them, joining the existing vineyards Dove Valley near Rising Sun, Terrapin Station, Elk Manor, and Turkey Point Vineyard. Turkey Point Vineyard has a tasting room in downtown North East.